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Legal SC To Examine If NRIs Can Represent India In Sports

SC to Examine If NRIs Can Represent India in Sports

news.outlookindia.com | SC to Examine If NRIs Can Represent India in Sports

The Supreme Court today decided to examine whether Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) have any right to represent India in international sporting events. A bench headed by chief justice KG Balakrishnan while posting the matter for hearing on April 19 observed that only an Indian citizen can represent the country in international competitions.

"You have to be an Indian to participate in such events. Otherwise you have to give up your other citizenship," the bench, which also included justice Deepak Verma and justice BS Chauhan, said when the petition was mentioned.

The petition was filed by the Centre challenging the decision of Punjab and Haryana high court which had held that OCI should be accorded the same status as provided to NRIs for representing India in international sports events.

The high court had delivered its verdict on March 18 on the petition filed by American-born shooter Shoharab Singh Gill, who have been representing India.

When the Centre mentioned the appeal, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Gill, said the shooter had been a part of Indian contingent in the past but the government policy was coming in way of his future participation in events for the country.

During the brief hearing, the bench said, "Why don't you give up your US citizenship?".

It took an assurance from Gill's counsel that when the high court will hear the matter tomorrow he will not press the contempt petition against the Centre.

The high court had directed the Union sports ministry to allow Gill, a shot gun shooter, to represent the country in international events as part of the Indian contingent.

On the issue of high court verdict according OCI the same status as given to the NRIs, the Bench said "NRIs are given so many benefits which is another thing. But to represent India you have to be an Indian citizen".

Solicitor general Gopal Subramanium, who mentioned the appeal, said the issue involved in the matter was not for any one case but it was the question of government policy.

He said the petition raises an important question of law as to the scope and ambit of the rights of an Overseas Citizen of India under various provisions of Citizenship Act.

Subramanium said the question is whether a person who is not an Indian national, unlike NRI, can claim any right to represent India in international sporting events contrary to the stated policy of the Government issued through its circulars on December 26, 2008 and March 12, 2009

Rajneesh Madhok
Dear Narayanjot Kaurji,
This decision has given another point. After marriage whether Sania Mirza will represent India in Tennis. If yes! Whether she will continue her citizenship of India. Secondly after marriage whether Sania will get Pakistani Citizenship or Shoiab will get Indian Citizenship. If Mr. Gill can not represent India as OCI then Sania Mirza will not be allowed to represent India in those circumstances. I don't know whether this law is applicable world wide or not. There may be different rules according to the policies framed by the different countries.

Rajneesh madhok

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